Celestyal acquires Aida ship and will rename it Discovery

Celestyal Cruises will swap out its two 1980s-era ships and replace them with a pair of younger vessels that once sailed for Carnival Corp. brands. 

Celestyal announced Thursday it acquired the 2003-built AidaAura, the oldest ship in the Aida fleet. The ship sailed exclusively for German line Aida Cruises and will be renamed the Celestyal Discovery. 

The Discovery is the second addition to the fleet this year following the February acquisition of the Ryndam, which sailed for Holland America Line from 1994 to 2015. The ship then sailed for P&O Cruises Australia as the Pacific Aria and was acquired by Cruise & Maritime Voyages in 2019. The ship is now the Celestyal Journey and relaunched in September following a $21 million refurbishment. 

The Discovery and the Journey will undergo further multimillion-dollar refurbishments this winter ahead of the new sailing season in the Greek islands, which begins in March 2024. 

The Discovery and the Journey each carry about 1,260 passengers. The pair will replace the 1,200-passenger Celestyal Crystal, which was retired in September, and the 1,600-passenger Celestyal Olympia, which will retire later this month. 

The Discovery will take over the Olympia’s 2024 program. Celestyal said it would reach out to guests holding reservations on the Olympia, saying that they will be accommodated on the newly refurbished Discovery. 

The Discovery will have an amphitheater, conference and event space, the Grillseekers specialty restaurant, a Sozo wellness retreat, a Greek deli, and a Fig and Honey gelato and juice bar. 

The refurbishment will introduce new customer offerings, which will be announced in the coming months, the line said. 

The pair of acquisitions follow Celystal’s decision to downsize during the pandemic. The line sold a former Costa ship in 2021 that it purchased a year earlier.

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